Thursday, September 15, 2016

Organized Craft Cabinets

I recently had a few weeks “off” from school (re: no children in attendance).  I decided to take that opportunity to reorganize my cabinets and drawers.  I knew I needed to purge as well.  Any teacher of young ones is most likely a hoarder of special treasures that you know “one day you’ll use”.  I decided that if I didn’t use it this past year, I most likely won’t use it this coming year.  It was hard, but once I did it….WOW!  The junk I had saved and hoped one day would come in handy was sent off for another teacher to use.

I am here to share a few tips I found helpful and some “new” ideas for cheap (or free) storage.  

Before: Here you may see that many items were being stuffed in the cabinet.  I get quite busy when I’m teaching and don’t find the time to put things back.  I really think it’s because it wasn’t a functionally organized cabinet.  Another thing I realized was that during the school year I would buy things and stuff them somewhere until I found a permanent home.  Well guess what I never did?   While sifting through my treasures I was able to find things I had bought and forgot about.  Those things are making a special appearance this year for sure!

My favorite bin are the ones shown here.  I bought them at Discount School Supply years ago.  I do know they still carry them.  They are wonderful!  I also use baskets and clear totes.  Clear is the key.  If you can see it, i’ll be easier to use and put away.  I’ve also labeled everything.  In the rare chance I have a sub, they will know where to find things and where to put them back!  :)

Before: My paints were too high, I had too many “paint tools” that were not being used and pretty much everything was in the wrong place.

Here is my new favorite FREE storage idea: Blank CD storage containers!  Turn it upside down and you have a clear container with a screw on lid.  I chose to snap off the pole in the middle for extra room.  If you leave the pole on you can use it for tape!  

I also love these pencil boxes for storage items such as pipettes, small paint supplies (marbles, golf balls, toothbrushes, puffy paints, glitter glue).

Small containers are great for sequins, small beads, wiggly eyes, glitter, etc. I found these up-cycled containers and they work perfectly! Have you ever had Talenti gelato?  Well, you should because it is the most delicious gelato I’ve had (from the store).  Another great reason to get it?  Clear storage container!!  

Before: Papers were getting a little jumbled and disorganized, loose items were falling on my head (for real!) and I also had about an entire shelf and a half of stuff I don’t ever use.  

Isn’t this much better?  I love using these desk organizers for construction paper, drawing paper and also my mini chalkboards/whiteboards. And more pencil boxes! I use them for my growing sharpie collection.

My goal will be to put things back right away. I have put a basket on my counter to put things in if I don't have time to put it back immediately. Then when the time comes I can put everything back neatly.

I've also reorganized my games, manipulatives, puzzles, loose parts cabinets. I may do a post on those later as well.

Happy Organizing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Coffee Filter & Spin Art Monarch Butterfly

Spring is one of those seasons that we actually dread over here in the desert.  Looming high temps are in our very near future. It's already hit 90 degrees!  While I'm dreading that, I need to focus on the hear and now!  We are really into all things "spring" in our classroom.  Growing seeds, observing roots from sprouted beans, making raindrops (coming soon!), rainbows and butterflies!

Coffee Filter Spin Art: Monarch Butterfly

Materials needed:
Salad Spinner
Large coffee filter
Pipe cleaner

First place your filter inside as best as you can.  Beware: It may fold over while spinning!  Squirt a bit of paint.  As you can see from the photos above, after I spun it the first time I realized I needed a bit more white so I put a glob in and spun again!  Beautiful outcome!

This is after it had dried.  It really doesn't take too much time. Maybe 30 minutes.

Next, pinch to make the center of the butterfly and secure with a pipe cleaner.  Simple and cute!

This is our classroom door. I am not a chalkboard artist...don't judge! ;)                                                 I found this chalkboard idea here. :)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Painting With Syringes!!

Yep.  Syringes.  It was messy.  It was all over the floors, the cabinets and despite having on paint aprons and smocks, in our hair, face, shoes, etc.  It was a blast!!

I set up the station and gave a little tutorial on how to pull up the paint and then let them at it. My only rule was not to "shoot each other in the face".  :)

I bought the syringes on Amazon for about $8, 100 pack.  I'm set for awhile!  :)  The tray I used was recycled from a tray of petite quiche.  Next time I'll use something a bit deeper, I had to refill the paint often.  I used watered down tempera paint, as alone it was too thick.

An added bonus....the kids were reading how much paint they would suck up with the cc # on the syringe!

Pulling up the syringe and pushing it down was great fine motor practise!  Some of the younger ones had a hard time, but with some practise they got some good shots (ha! pun intended!!).  :)

Here is a little action video that I posted on my Instagram.  (follow me here!)

Monday, December 21, 2015

DIY 2016 Calendar Gift

As I racked my brain for another Christmas gift the children could make their parents, I went over all the cute gifts we've made in the past.  Many ornaments, cute pictures and plenty of glitter crossed my mind.  When the idea finally came to me I knew exactly what to do!

I found an amazing website that I want to share with you!  Have you been to Twinkl?  I find myself on their site at least twice a week.  Not just for school, but for home, too!  Twinkl is a place of unique, teacher created planning materials and teaching resources.  I don't use worksheets in school and I still use this site so much! One of my most favorite things about Twinkl is their graphics.  They are consistent with all their materials and are simply perfect for children to recognize and relate to. I could go on and on about all the wonderful resources there are, but it would take way too long.  Have a look!  I have a few more posts to give you some ideas on how you can use them either in your home or classroom.

On with this one!
I printed off this simple calendar from Twinkl.  I had taken some pictures of the kids earlier in the week to put in the center.  I also glued the print onto some heavy tag board.  Next up, decorate!

We used Kwik Stix, but any type of medium would work.  Markers, pastels, watercolors, crayons, colored pencils, tempera paints...etc.  I also gave them a pile of sequins and glue.  So sparkly!

We also added a bit of rick rack so families can hang them up.  Here is the one my son made, all hung up and proud.  (He couldn't wait until Christmas to give us his present...even though I already knew what it was.)  :)

Twinkl would also make a perfect gift this season!  

Twinkl Educational Publishing

*I received a 6 month membership to Twinkl in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and property of Getting Messy With Ms. Jessi.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Milk Carton Gingerbread House {& Giveaway!}

Aww...milk cartons.  Such a magical recycled item.  We decided to make our large supply (thanks, Ms. Caitlin!) of cartons into Gingerbread houses.  They turned out to be such an adorable decoration!

I was also excited to use a brand new (to me, anyways) art medium, paint sticks.  They are AMAZING! Kwik Stix makes a solid tempera paint.  Think of a glue stick, but smooth paint instead.  Heaven!  So many cool things about them.

  • Dry in 90 seconds
  • leaves a vibrant color
  • can be applied to so many surfaces
  • easy for little fingers to use
  • doesn't crack
  • no need for brushes, cups or extra painting materials    
Sometimes even this messy gal likes an easy, mess free project day!  Below we used Kwik Stix to make gingerbread houses, but we've used them with so many other things!  I'm kind of smitten.                                                                                                                    

How we made our (simple) gingerbread houses:

Milk Carton
Brown acrylic paint
Poster board
Hot Glue
Kwik Stix (or other paints)

I painted the cartons first with acrylic paint.  It goes on well enough, but depending on how much coverage you want, 2 coats are best. You can see the difference!

After these dry I put on a little roof.  Simply hot glued a folded piece of poster board.

Then I let the kids have a go at decorating!

You can find Kwik Stix on:
The Pencil Grip website

Here is the low down on the giveaway:
  1. Winners from USA only
  2. Must be 18 years of age
  3. Winner will be notified by me within 48 hours at the end of the giveaway
  4. If said winner does not notify me within 24 hours a new winner will be chosen
  5. The Pencil Grip will be sending you your winning prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I did not receive compensation for this post.  The Pencil Grip sent me a 12 pack of Kwik Stix to test and review.  All opinions are my own and property of Getting Messy With Ms. Jessi.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Necklace

I had the children make 2 quick pumpkin necklaces.  Both are very quick!  I try really hard to find supplies I already have on hand (which frankly, is too much) and buy very little.  You'd be surprised what you can come up with if you just look around your cabinets.  It's even easier if you're only looking for one or two children, not a whole classroom supply! :)

Marshmallow Pumpkin Necklace #1

Materials: Craft Marshmallows (I found these in our shed, but I've seen them at craft stores and Amazon)
Hot Glue

Paint and let it dry. Usually doesn't take more than a few hours.  If you are in a rush and are able, put it out in the sun!

After it dries use something with a firm point to make a hole near the top.  I used a nail.  Put a dot of hot glue inside and push your string (open sides) into the hole.  Then put a bit more hot glue on top and put a bead on top to secure. I also tied a knot, but I'm sure it's not necessary.  

You can leave it as is or draw a jack o lantern face.  This is a picture of my son (hubby sent this to me while I was at work) proudly wearing his!

Spool Pumpkin Necklace #2

Paint or Construction Paper
Hot Glue

Depending on your spool you can either paint it (if it's a plastic spool use acrylic paint) or wrap it with construction paper.

When you are ready to string it tie a large knot in the yarn and then hot glue it to the middle of the spool.  See the top?  Or you could pull it all the way through to the bottom.

Again, leave it as is or draw a face!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Need more Halloween Ideas?  Check these out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oil Pastel Fall Leaves

So, we live in the desert.  We don't get the beautiful fall leaves that everyone is gushing about.  We can see them if we drive 2 hours north into the mountains.  But, here in the valley we have blooming cacti, trees that rarely turn colors and rock landscaping.  It's beautiful in it's own way.  I have a tree in my front yard with decent sized leaves.  They do turn a beautiful February.  Then less than a month later blooms.  Crazy desert life.

I've seen so many talented bloggers/artists decorate leaves with paints, chalk markers and gel pens resulting in beautiful art.  We first tried painting our leaves.  After it dried the color blended into the leaves and flaked off.  Ugh.  Back to my art supplies.  Chalk didn't work ( I guess my leaves are too waxy).  Then I tried one of my most favorite mediums, oil pastels.  Oh!  Did it turn out lovely!

Since fall leaves don't come to us, we were just going to bring it ourselves!  I set out fall colors and a pile of leaves.  We then discovered if you rubbed the pastel on its side it would reveal all the veins in the in the leaf! Hello science lesson!!

I didn't want to let these beauties dry out, so I laminated them.  So far, after about 6 days they are still looking vibrant!